A bill approved by the Texas Senate on Thursday requires Texas public schools to post the Ten Commandments in every classroom starting next school year. The bill, Senate Bill 1515, is now headed to the State House for consideration.
Texas Republican Senator Phil King told a committee hearing earlier this month that the state wants to bring the Ten Commandments back into the classroom because they are such an important part of America’s heritage.
According to the Texas Tribune, King said during the hearing that “[the bill] will remind students across Texas of the importance of America’s fundamental foundations.”
He also pointed out that the bill was constitutional after the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of Joe Kennedy, a high school football coach in Washington state who was fired for praying before games.
The proposal comes shortly after the passage of legislation in August that would require schools to post “Believe in God” signs in “specified locations” as long as they are “donated” or “purchased by private charity”. .
Texas Republican Senator Brian Hughes, who supported the bill, wrote on Twitter: “The national motto, In God We Trust, emphasizes our collective faith in one sovereign God.” “I co-authored a bill in 2003 allowing schools to display the motto, and last year I authored the ‘In God We Trust Act,’ which would allow schools to display the motto with no cost associated with it.” will need to display the motto.”
The Senate also allowed final passage of Senate Bill 1396, allowing public and charter schools to adopt a policy of setting aside time for students and staff to pray and read religious texts such as the Bible at school.
Lt. Dan Patrick of Texas, R.I. lauded both these bills as a victory for religious freedom in the state.
“Re-allowing the Ten Commandments and prayer in our public schools is one step we can take to ensure that all Texans have the right to freely express their religious beliefs,” he said in a statement.
He said, “I believe that you cannot change the culture of a nation without changing the culture of mankind.” “Bringing the Ten Commandments and prayer back into our public schools will help our students become better taxians.”
The Senate also passed Bill 1556, which turned into law a Supreme Court ruling against high school football coaches and protected the right of school personnel to participate in religious speeches or prayers “while on duty.”